Combating cruise ship virus outbreaks


We’ve had the pleasure to travel on a number of cruise ships and each of these cruises revealed to us the varied control put on keeping your hands clean, which is crucial to stopping the spread of cruise ship viruses. The cruise ship virus outbreaks featured in the news this week highlight that more needs to be done when it comes to enforcement of keeping passenger and staff hands clean.

Earlier this week we heard about a cruise ship called the Ruby Princess, which is owned by Carnival, and saw almost 100 passengers had been hit with a well-known virus called the “Norovirus”. Sadly this cruise ship joins another under Carnival that also saw an outbreak of the same virus just a few days before, and that ship is called the Crown Princess.

Carnival also own the Costa Concordia and are in the process of dealing with that disaster, which we expect to see the financial implications for the cruise ship company in the coming months. You can see how other cruise companies are being affected by the sinking of the Concordia in our earlier article.

Simple changes would make a massive difference to health on-board cruise ships – It’s obvious that virus outbreaks and the Norovirus are a big problem for cruise brands, and we’re sure they’re not taking this news laying down. We’d love to see what Carnival put in place over the coming weeks to combat cruise ship virus outbreaks although we feel they still have a lot to learn.

We’ve traveled on Royal Caribbean, P&O and Celebrity cruise ships and they’re worlds apart when it comes to health on-board. When we visited these cruise ships in the last year we found that P&O offered hand sterilizers but did not make you clean your hands before eating, this was optional, although this could have changed in the last 6 months so feel free to let us know in the comments.

Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas were much tougher on passengers and had the doors to restaurants staffed to make sure everyone sterilized their hands before entering, which would mean you couldn’t enter eating areas without cleaning your hands. This was even tougher again on the Celebrity Eclipse with more enforcement all over the cruise ship, and even before you could return to the Eclipse.

Norovirus is firstly spread by the fecal-oral route, then by touching another person (keeping hands clean), and then by water/food. There are other ways like air conditioning but the above methods are most common.

What do you think cruise companies could do to improve health at sea? Please note that the cruise ship in the photo below is one that we took of a P&O ship we visited, and not that of the Carnival ships involved in the recent virus outbreak.

BREAKING: It looks like another cruise ship has had a virus outbreak in Feb 2012, which is said to be Independence of the Seas – read more here.

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  • Dgmjlm

    Have the ship docked for a week to sanitize thoroughly.  Plus, the crew keeps infecting new passengers since the norovirus is still contagious for a week or more after symptoms are gone.   

  • trebal

    We have seen people deliberately avoid using the hand sanitizers and then walking into the restaurants.People have also been seen using the toilets and walking out without washing or sanitizing their hands. The word “moron” comes to mind and these problem totally negate any procedure that the cruise lines put in place. On Celebrity there are supplies of gel all around the ships yet people behave with total disregard for others. Sad people! 

  • Hans Prent

    Chefs should check constantly the food TEMPERATURE.

    Retired head chef  HANS. P